Göttingen (götˈĭng-ən) [key], city (1994 pop. 128,420), Lower Saxony, central Germany, on the Leine River. It is noted for its university, founded in 1734 (opened 1737) by Elector George Augustus (George II of England). Manufactures include printed materials, optical and precision instruments, textiles, and aluminum. Known in the 10th cent., Göttingen was granted (1210) a city charter and joined the Hanseatic League. When, in 1837, King Ernest Augustus of Hanover revoked the liberal constitution of Hanover, seven professors at the Univ. of Göttingen issued a strong protest and were summarily dismissed. They were the brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, the founders of comparative philology; the historian and critic G. G. Gervinus; the historian F. C. Dahlmann; the physicist W. E. Weber; the Orientalist and theologian G. H. A. von Ewald; and the jurist Wilhelm Eduard Albrecht. This celebrated incident led to the decline of the university's reputation. It was revived at the end of the 19th cent. by the growth of world-famous departments of mathematics and physics. The university's reputation in mathematics dates back to 1807, when Karl Friedrich Gauss, who was born in the city, began to teach there. Göttingen was the seat of the Göttinger Dichterbund or Göttinger Hainbund, a group of early Romantic poets, formed there in 1772 by J. H. Voss and others. The city was virtually undamaged in World War II and has retained numerous historic buildings, including a 14th-century town hall, half-timbered houses, and student taverns. There are several museums.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Political Geography